It provides an energy boost, improves sexual prowess, and helps you lose weight. And, according to a study by Rutgers University in the U.S., it contains a rare antioxidant compound that stimulates overall health and helps prevent cancer.
The borojó fruit, which grows only in Ecuador, Colombia and a small area in Panama, has long been a regular part of the diet of indigenous populations, known in particular for its properties as a “natural amphetamine” and aphrodisiac.
In recent years, it has caught the attention of the health researchers and food supplement producers and has been dubbed the “magic” or “super fruit.”
A powered version of borojó is sold in Europe and North America for $60 to $70 a bottle. A 2017 food supplement marketing survey reports that sales of the powder have doubled in each of the past five years.
In Ecuador, the borojó tree grows only in Esmeraldas Province, where it is consumed primarily as a juice by the area’s predominantly black population. “We have known for generations that it is good for you,” says Mama Yama, who also prepares ice cream, jams, smoothies and a variety of fruit dishes using borojó. “Everyone knows it tastes good and gives you energy, but it is healthy is other ways too. It’s good for cardiovascular health and has a high content of calcium, potassium, sodium, iron and vitamin A.”
In concentrated form, Yama says, borojó is used as medicine for a wide variety of ailments. “Just by giving a glass to a person, you can see a rapid improvement in their health,” she says.
According to the Rutgers study, borojó contains only one polyphenol in relatively high concentration, critical for disease prevention. It also contains high levels of vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and antioxidants, and is a natural appetite suppressant and a libido stimulant.
According to vendors as Cuenca’s 10 de Agosto market, borojó fruit and extract are sold seasonally throughout Ecuador.